It started with a single store, opened in Fridley, Minnesota in 1964. But Dick Kempe's pizza proved too tasty for one outpost, and Chanticlear Pizza eventually spread to 14 locations in the following years. And although Dick no longer owns the pizzerias, his uncompromising standards for quality pies remain in place. Fresh dough is mixed up and hand-tossed daily. Vegetables are chopped each morning. Instead of adding sugar to their sauce, the chefs rely on the tomatoes' natural, charm school-perfected sweetness. And the from-scratch foundation is always topped with house-shredded, 100% Wisconsin mozzarella cheese.
Once the dough and sauce are ready, Chanticlear Pizza's chefs continue the process by loading them with meats and veggies. The selection of toppings range from shrimp and bacon pieces to a secret-recipe pickle blend. A splash of spicy, bourbon-tinged molasses or chunky salsa can add additional pizzazz to pizzas. Beyond circular eats, polygonal dishes as pastas, calzones, and sides of buffalo wings and garlic toast populate the menu.
A bowling alley, sports bar, 4,100-square-foot arcade, and convention hall all reside within Blainbrook Entertainment Center. In the bowling alley, families and friends challenge each other at one of 24 neon-lit lanes equipped with automatic scoring or join the center's competitive leagues for adults and children ages 5?19. Meanwhile, sports fans grab a seat in the sports bar to watch games on big-screen TVs, listen to live music, enjoy steak dinners from the menu, or play pool. Pool tables also fill the arcade alongside poker tables, dartboards, and more than 50 games, including virtual-reality games. And when guests need to host a wedding reception, family reunion, or rock-paper-scissors competition, they fill Brookhall?a large convention center with a bar, crystal chandeliers, and access to an outdoor garden.
Aromas of baking pizzas and simmering house-made sauces drift from the kitchen of Umbria, which is named in honor of the region of Italy where the eatery’s founders developed their recipes. The cooks forge crusts from freshly kneaded dough, which they slip into the rippling heat of the ovens. Kraft macaroni 'n' cheese, smoked bacon, sauerkraut, corned beef, gyro meat, and other inventive ingredients scatter across pies and allow patrons to customize a meal that is already shaped exactly like their favorite manhole cover.
In a way, Big Dipper Ice Cream Shop specializes in fusion cuisine. The family-owned shop combines ice cream with a variety of desserts to make entirely new concoctions. For instance, their handmade ice cream flavors are infused with a host of candies that would feel right at home in a movie theater including Almond Joy and Snickers. Other flavors derive their tang from fresh fruit, as in the case of black raspberry and caramel apple. Still others owe their taste to classic confections such as cheesecake, licorice, and the popular dirty turtle, a mix of dark chocolate, pecans, and caramel.
There are more than 40 flavors in all behind the counter. And though you might miss out on mint oreo during one visit, you could get lucky the next time you stop by as the staff constantly rotates the selection. These staffers are also responsible for the shop's festive, community atmosphere that can make their sweets taste even sweeter, a fact that earned the shop a nomination for the 2013 Macaroni Kid Family Choice Awards. There's even a vending machine outside where customers can pick up pre-packaged servings to eat ice cream on the go without having to install a tiny freezer in their glove compartment.
On J.J. Murphy's Irish Pub’s opening day, reports the Star Tribune, bagpipers blasted their traditional tunes and a priest blessed the bar, a custom for new businesses in Ireland. The owner of local Irish-themed restaurants, including O'Donovan's Irish Pub and Jake O'Connors, native Irishman Dermot Cowley established J.J. Murphy’s in honor of the city of Blaine’s first settler from the 1860s, Irishman Phillip Laddy.
Alongside Irish pub classics such as beef and Guinness stew, Dermot’s handpicked menu includes soft pretzels with a Jameson’s Irish Whiskey-spiked mustard and a vegetarian-friendly sandwich with grilled tomatoes and sautéed onions. These feasts unfold in a spacious bar outfitted with salvaged material from Ireland, including the sign from famous Dublin bar The 5 Crosses and a lost and confused Liam Neeson. Old oak tables, antique benches, and a toasty fireplace adorn the dining area, while bartenders behind the copper bar supply spirits to thirsty patrons tapping their toes to concerts from live musicians on the pub’s new stage.
More than 50 years go, Mike Ilitch was poised for major-league glory. An up-and-coming shortstop for the Detroit Tigers, his baseball finesse was blossoming when an injury derailed his sports career. But although the wound stunted his athletic aspirations, it steered him toward a new path, and on May 8, 1959, he and his wife opened the first Little Caesars location, a then-unheard-of carry-out-only joint. The career shift and novel technique eventually proved triumphant. Today, the pizzeria's iconic, toga-clad mascot adorns storefronts on five continents. In each shop, staffers forge the signature Hot-N-Ready pizza, a freshly baked pizza designed for instant pickup, and warm, garlicky Crazy bread. With a storied half-century under their belt, Mike Ilitch and his family strive to give back, supporting local organizations and creating their own charitable programs.